Paul refers to four stages in God's plan of salvation (Rom. 8: 29). First, God had foreknowledge of all the future and so chose the ‘elect’ (cf. Acts 4: 28); then he ‘called’, when those chosen became aware of it; then they were ‘justified’ by their faith, and finally they would be ‘glorified’, the first‐born of many brethren.

How God's foreknowledge can be reconciled with genuine human free will has not been easy for traditional Christian theology, and some recent thinkers hold that by his act of creating a temporal universe God was committed to a temporal relationship with it—there were elements in the future unknown to God.